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Election informational sessions to smooth out kinks for upcoming season

IMG_0063 Amanda Hilow

Student Government Association President Cedric Bandoh is graduating this May, leaving the door open for new candidates.  |  Aisha Bouderdaben/The Daily Cougar

The Student Government Association undergoes a presidential election season every year, and with incumbent Cedric Bandoh graduating in May, the position of President will be open for candidates.

In preparation of the season, the Election Commission will present informational sessions to inform the student body about the the positions available, candidate responsibilities and the electoral process to encourage students to run for office. Kendrick Alridge, the chief elections commissioner, hopes to work toward a historic voter turnout this year.

“I think it’s important for students to get involved with the elections. If they’re concerned about issues — tuition, financial aid, student opportunities — they should get involved, either by voting or running for office,” Alridge said. “The commission tries to promote as many candidates from different student organizations.”

Available positions for the 2014-15 academic year are president, vice president, all graduate and undergraduate senator-at-large and all college senator positions. Attorney General David Ghably hopes to ensure across-the-board understanding of the election codes, which he hopes will be accomplished with the informational sessions.

“Students don’t really know about how many positions there are. If they know about them, they wouldn’t be as hesitant,” Ghably said. “‘If I can change one thing about UH, what would it be?’ I can’t think of someone who doesn’t have one thing they wouldn’t complain about.”

Ghably looks forward to a smooth transition between administrations.

For biology freshman Chloe Stowell, this season is a chance to help out her friend, who plans on running for office. The informational sessions are a good way to know the ins and outs of SGA and learn how to be a part of it, she said.

“Especially for freshmen, we want to get involved, but we don’t know how to get involved. I’m going to recommend it to my friend, who is running,” Stowell said.

The information sessions are just one of a series of debates and seminars this coming election season. Angela Kao, chief of staff, looks forward to seeing a new wave of faces at SGA.

“It’s always a fun time of the year; it’s always the beginning of a new era,” Kao said.

Two presentations will be given from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. today and Tuesday in The Honors College in the M. D. Anderson Memorial Library, Room 212S.

Groups that the commission has reached out to during this first week of election promotion include the Houston Panhellenic Council and the UH College Democrats. The commission is under the umbrella of the Center for Student Involvement.

The candidate filing period begins Monday.

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